Solo PvP in EVE Online has more in common with fishing than anything else. You set the hook, possibly with some bait, and you wait. Sometimes the fish gets you, instead. But by lurking in a likely spot, with the right ship and a healthy dose of patience, you can wait until the perfect target of opportunity arrives, and increase the likelihood of your victory.
This article covers the basics of how to set up your one man ambush, a basic guide to what you can and cannot safely fight, and tips on what to engage or refrain from engaging. Also covered is a very basic guide to using mobile warp disruptors and some tips about avoiding counter-ambushes.
Readers may wish to review the Ten Ton Hammer guide to Flying Stealth Bombers In EVE Online.
The Gist of the Procedure
Mobile warp disruptors are immobile items that trap ships. Perfect for ambushes.
The Site of the Crime
You don't want a main thoroughfare for this. You want something a bit out the way, but where people still live. It needs to be null-sec, so that you can use mobile warp disruptors, since they do not function in high-sec or low-sec. Pick a gate that's not within 14 AU of another gate, and ideally one that connects two separate regions or constellations, and is thus less likely to have a planet nearby for people to warp to for scanning purposes. Lots of experienced travelers will have bookmarked locations near a gate for scanning, purposes, but just as many travelers do not, and will have to warp directly to the gate.
If your location is based at a too busy site, you may attract unwelcome attention, and the site may become untenable for this sort of fighting as gankers will eventually stick around and try to trick you into engaging them in a battle. Conversely, if you set up in a dead end where nobody lives, it's going to be boring work. The key is finding a balance between traffic and lack of traffic.
Mobile Warp Disruptors: The Basics
Mobile warp disruptors are items that can be carried in a ship's cargo, and then released in space, where it can then be anchored (though not too close to a station or gate). There are bubbles of various sizes, with the smallest being called a 'Mobile Small Warp Disruptor I'. These "bubbles," as they are sometimes called, prevent warping out when a ship is within their radius. They also "intercept" and pull in any ship that tries to warp to a location along the same plane at them. For example, if you warp from a gate to a second gate at 100km, and anchor a bubble there, anybody that attempts to warp to the second from the first gate will instead end up at the edge of its radius, unable to warp until it moves outside the bubble or blows it up.
There is a lot more to placing bubbles if you want to get advanced or fancy, but for our purposes dropping a bubble 100km off a gate will suffice. Any ships moving in a straight line that passes through the bubble will instead end up at the edge of the bubble, temporarily helpless.
Larger bubbles, or those that are placed more effectively, can pull in ships from more angles of approach. Large enough bubbles can even surround gates, forcing anything that jumps in to either make a run for the edge of the bubble, or to desperately scramble back toward the gate for an escape. Larger bubbles can often cost a pretty penny, especially the tech two varieties.
In order to use a bubble, you will need to train at least Anchoring II, and probably higher if you ever want to use larger or tech two bubbles.
In your well fit stealth bomber (one that doesn't use bombs) you can wait at the edge of your bubble for something juicy to get stuck. There are always incautious people blundering around space. If you think you can kill something, decloak and blow it up. If not, remain cloaked.
What can you kill by yourself? With great confidence, you can kill any industrial, many tech one frigates, some of the slower tech one cruisers, and under some circumstances you can even kill a battleship (though this would usually require NPC ships to be shooting it as well, and for it to be poorly fitted). You need to watch out for drones, and always try and orbit your target at as fast a speed as possible.
With rare exceptions, a ship within a "bubble" is helpless until it escapes.
A small mobile warp disruptor I takes two minutes to anchor and turn on. You do not need to be decloaked while this is occurring, nor even in the same system. Drop the bubble. Right click, anchor it, and recloak as quickly as possible.
If you leave a small or medium secure container floating in space at exactly the point where people tend to get stuck in your bubble, it may decloak people or prevent them from re-cloaking.
The beauty of using a stealth bomber is that you have absolute control over whether to engage in a battle or not. If a target looks dangerous, you don't need to risk anything except your 700k ISK mobile disruptor. Remember: EVE Online favors the patient and cautious.
Many or perhaps even most tech three cruisers are capable of warping out of a bubble, no questions asked.
If you make a bookmark somewhere in warp between two objects, you can warp back to it and drop a Medium Secure Container (or larger, if you swap out ships). Once it is anchored, you can use it to store extra mobile disruptors or loot. That way you don't have to worry about carrying them around and so forth. Be warned: you must access a container at least once every thirty days or it will be destroyed.
You will eventually get blown up. Resign yourself to it. As always, think of it as a learning experience. What did you do wrong? Did you engage something that you should not have? Did you not keep an eye out for traps?
Counter-ambushes or defense fleets are a very real possibility. If you blow somebody up, and they come through the same area in a vulnerable seeming ship for a second time, it is very likely an attempt to trick you into decloaking for long enough to kill you. Try to remember names and ship types as they pass by your area.
This same technique can be done with any ship that can cloak, though recons are perhaps the best non-bomber option. Ships like the Rapier, Arazu, and so forth, are all excellent, though they have a delay of several seconds when decloaking, during which time they cannot lock any targets. Depending on how frisky you feel, you may want to ram your target ship with an 'approach' command during that time, to keep it in the bubble's radius.
That's it for this guide. See you soon!